On Monday night the Bottleneck hosted a show that was so sexual, playful, and easy-going all at the same time, it almost felt like a spirited one-night stand.
The lineup featuring funny folkman Father John Misty and odd melody-makers Magic Trick attracted a wide range of ages. The sold-out audience ranked between scenesters in their early 20s (dressed to the nines), and baby boomers who were backed up against the wall, lining the benches and nervously checking their watches. The young were chatty, while the older folks hardly looked at each other. But one thing was for sure: they were all thrilled by Father John Misty’s performance.
San Francisco natives Magic Trick opened up the night by successfully diving into a nice, droney 60’s vibe with choruses backed by lovely and pop-infused female vocals. We even spotted a couple of audience members channeling their inner flower child, thrusting their arms into the air and swaying along melodically. The band left a psychedelic feel on the crowd, leaving them in a relaxed and good mood for the madness that was to come.
Father John Misty is the moniker of Joshua Tillman, who previously played for Fleet Foxes. But this getup gives the drummer a chance to move from the back of the stage to the spotlight, and he soaks up every single second of it.
The string-bean folky performer wiggled his hips, flipped his hair, and had a flamboyant hand gesture for every lyric in his songs. He was so flirty and sensual onstage, it looked like he was slowly undressing every single audience member with his eyes. He, at one point, held and kissed the hands of some very lucky ladies in the front row, and we wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised if he gave them a big wink every now and then. It’s hard not to feel like you had just done the dirty deed with him when he addressed the end of a song like the end of a bed-sesh. “Thank you, baby cakes!” he blurted after one of his tunes (much to the delight and squeals of the ladies).
But it wasn’t all sex and sass. The saucy showman had a hilarious and dry sense of humor. He constantly chatted up his adorers who were packed into the warm venue on a chilly night. “Hot damn! Holy Christ! Good God!” he exclaimed after one song. “This is fun!” Tillman, like many Bottleneck performers before him, begged the staff to turn the disco ball on for him. “I would like that disco ball left on… for the rest of my life,” he confessed with a hearty hand gesture.
His backing band was also lively (his guitarist impressed with shiny gold velour tights and a long, blonde shock of hair), so Tillman could divide most of his time between singing, dancing, and pointing into the audience. But when he did occasionally contribute some of his instrumental skills, he made sure you knew about it. “I don’t want to discourage any guitar players in the house,” he announced while strapping on his guitar. “But I am about to do some next level shit.”
The post-holiday blues can leave anyone in quite an unhappy mess. But after a weekend of dismally-attended shows, Father John Misty picked everyone back up again. Sure, some of the songs could have been considered sad bastard music, but they were some of the sexiest sad bastard songs you’ll ever hear. And with a frontman who thinks so fondly and highly of himself, there’s enough confidence left over to go around and give everyone a boost. When you think about it, isn’t that the point of flashy one-night stands anyway?